Cooking on the Farm: Over the Fire and Under the Stars

Aguanga - Cooking with Fire

Jonathan Davis has been fast at work making a homestead on his farm in Aguanga, but there is always time to cook a great meal. Whether it is for his family or for visiting friends, these creative and exciting al fresco feasts are met with great anticipation. Jonathan makes regular use of his outdoor barbeque, fueled not just by natural charcoal, but also by native Ribbonwood, which grows in abundance on his property. The wood imparts a delightful smoky aroma to food cooked over it; and for grilled pizzas and paella, it can’t be beat!  In fact, some of the best planning and plotting for upcoming OurLocaltopia events, recipes and menus is done over these starlit dinners, amongst the chaparral. Enjoy the pictures from some of these recent Aguanga Suppers, as well as links to the recipes that inspired them. We’ve included our recipe for Fritto Misto, an Italian “mixed fry” that is easy to prepare, always a hit, and tastes incredibly fresh.  It pairs great with a glass of wine, a starry night, and the warmth of a cooking flame.

OurLocaltopia’s Fritto Misto

Enough Batter to Serve 6

A fritto misto is a mixed fry – anything, from tiny fish to zucchini blossoms, that has
been deep-fried. This thin all-purpose batter is good for dredging everything from
delicate parsley or sage leaves to sturdier slices of lemon, mushrooms, or zucchini
batons. The batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick
(flours differ) add a little more wine.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 cup white wine

Whatever you want to fry, see below

Canola, peanut, or corn oil


For the batter, whisk the flour and salt together in a medium bowl. Gradually add
the wine, whisking until the batter is smooth. Give it a quick whisk again just before
you’re ready to use it.

Prepare whatever you want to fry by cutting it into pieces of uniform or similar
shapes and sizes so that things cook at the same rate. Make sure everything is dry,
as water/moisture will cause the oil to splatter.

Add enough oil to a heavy skillet or wok to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil to
a temperature of 350 F.

Dip whatever you want to fry into the batter, shake off any excess, and carefully
lower into the 350 F oil. (Be careful not to burn your fingers or splatter the oil!)

Fry in small batches turning frequently for even browning. Remove the fritto misto
when it is golden or pale brown. (You’ll get the hang of it as you goT) Use a slotted
spatula to lift the fritto misto out of the oil and drain on paper towels. Skim any
frying debris our of the oil between batches.

Season the fritto misto with salt while it is still hot. Serve as you fry and be sure to
keep some for yourself. It’s the cooks job to maintain quality control!

Suggested Foods to Dip & Fry:Fresh sage leaves, fresh parsley sprigs, asparagus, shiitake mushroom caps, zucchini batons or blossoms, Japanese eggplant slices, scallions, small whole okra, peeled shrimp, small pieces of fresh fish. Enjoy!

Links to Other Recipes Pictured

Eggplant, Pistachio & Pomegranate Flat Bread Pizza from Martha Stewart 

Fontina, Fennel and Onion Flat Bread Pizza from Martha Stewart

Seafood Paella from Williams-Sonoma 

Mexican Wedding Cookies from Williams-Sonoma 

Stay tuned for more from us in the coming days… even the announcement of an upcoming cooking class featuring The Jonathans!

Happy Eating,



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